Predictors of mistimed, and unwanted pregnancies among women of childbearing age in Rufiji, Kilombero, and Ulanga districts of Tanzania

Exavery, Amon; Kanté, Almamy Malick; Njozi, Mustafa; Tani, Kassimu; Doctor, Henry; Hingora, Ahmed; Phillips, James F

Background: While unintended pregnancies pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of families globally, characteristics of Tanzanian women who conceive unintentionally are rarely documented. This analysis identifies factors associated with unintended pregnancies—both mistimed and unwanted—in three rural districts of Tanzania. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 2,183 random households was conducted in three Tanzanian districts of Rufiji, Kilombero, and Ulanga in 2011 to assess women’s health behavior and service utilization patterns. These households produced 3,127 women age 15+ years from which 2,199 gravid women aged 15–49 were selected for the current analysis. Unintended pregnancies were identified as either mistimed (wanted later) or unwanted (not wanted at all). Correlates of mistimed, and unwanted pregnancies were identified through Chi-squared tests to assess associations and multinomial logistic regression for multivariate analysis. Results: Mean age of the participants was 32.1 years. While 54.1% of the participants reported that their most recent pregnancy was intended, 32.5% indicated their most recent pregnancy as mistimed and 13.4% as unwanted. Multivariate analysis revealed that young age (<20 years), and single marital status were significant predictors of both mistimed and unwanted pregnancies. Lack of inter-partner communication about family planning increased the risk of mistimed pregnancy significantly, and multi-gravidity was shown to significantly increase the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Conclusions: About one half of women in Rufiji, Kilombero, and Ulanga districts of Tanzania conceive unintentionally. Women, especially the most vulnerable should be empowered to avoid pregnancy at their own will and discretion.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

Reproductive Health

More About This Work

Academic Units
Population and Family Health
Published Here
September 23, 2014